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Student and Faculty Activities

CTAHR strives to maximize students' personal growth and development by providing a variety of opportunities to network, build and strengthen relationships, and get involved in fun, enriching co-curricular activities.

Below are selected examples of recent student activities sponsored by CTAHR.


Spring Event

CTAHR held its third annual outdoor carnival-themed Spring Event on Friday, January 30, 2015. Over 200 students, faculty, and staff came out for free food, fun, and games. This year’s booths featured a bean bag toss, frisbee tic-tac-toe, rainbow roulette trivia, and ring toss. CTAHR was also introduced to Frank Uratani, a caricature artist. The dunk booth tradition remained at this year’s event. Donations from this year’s welcome back event supported the CTAHR student organization Innovators of Fashion. Over $200 was collected to support their Annual Senior Fashion Show.

Big thanks to Dr. Rajesh Jha (HNFAS), Dr. Alan Titchenal (FSHN), Dr. Andy Reilly (FCS), Dr. Kirsten Oleson (NREM), Dr. Brent Buckley (HNFAS), and Dr. Charly Kinoshita (Associate Dean, ASAO) for volunteering to get dunked. Mahalo to Ryan Kurasaki for assisting with food arrangements and the carnival layout. Also, great thanks to Dr. Janice Uchida for donating potted plants for prizes and Steve and Karen Sato for sponsoring this event. Mahalo to the Spring Event student committee, scholarship recipient and student ambassador volunteers, and ASAO for their time and dedication in making this a smooth and successful event. Lastly, thank you to everyone who attended and donated to this year’s cause and making this year’s carnival another memorable CTAHR event!


Ag Awareness Day

Over 700 fifth-grade students and teachers from Aliamanu Elementary, Mokulele Elementary, HAFB Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Elementary, Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary, Pearl Harbor Elementary, Lt. Col. Horace Meek Hickam Elementary, Moanalua Elementary, Red Hill Elementary, and Major General William R. Shafter Elementary attended the 2015 Agriculture and Environmental Awareness Day on Friday, February 13, 2015 out at the Pearl City Urban Garden Center. The purpose of this outdoor event is to create a greater awareness and understanding of agriculture and the environment among today’s youth, teachers, and general public, as well as to introduce young students to potential Hawaii-based career opportunities in these fields. University faculty, staff and students, government agencies, private industry, and community members who volunteer their time to educate the students made up the 18 presentations and 12 exhibits that students participated in on this day.

Several exhibits returned the next day for the Second Saturday at the Garden event open to the general public. CTAHR’s Oahu Cooperative Extension Office and Academic and Student Affairs partnered again to organize this annual event.

Funding support was provided by USDA through CTAHR’s Agribusiness Education, Training, and Incubation Program. The City and County of Honolulu also provided generous funding for this event. Linda Chu Takayama, Director of Economic Development at City & County of Honolulu, graced the entire crowd of 700 with a warming welcome in the middle of the morning. Thank you to the Pearl City Urban Garden Center staff and volunteers, ASAO staff, and Waimanalo Research Station staff, for planning and setting up the event. Also, a big mahalo to the CTAHR faculty and staff, government agencies, community members, and company representatives who volunteered their time and knowledge for the presentations and exhibits at the Friday and Saturday events. Lastly, thank you to Dr. Po-Yung Lai of the City and County of Honolulu for helping us acquire funding for this year’s event.


CTAHR Career Workshop

Approximately 45 students and 15 employers/agencies gathered in Gilmore Hall on Thursday, March 5, 2015 for the CTAHR Career Workshop. Professionals from organizations large and small came out to speak to our students, including Monsanto, Pioneer, Syngenta, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources – Division of Forestry and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Kupu, USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection Quarantine, USDA - Meat Inspection, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Libre Farms, Licious Dishes, Valerie Joseph Boutique, Manoa Career Center and CTAHR’s Ms. Lynn Yamashita and Dr. JP Bingham. Students learned about potential internship/career opportunities, personal career pathways and experiences of those working in jobs related to their fields of study. After these informative sessions, all attendees gathered in Gilmore 306 for the first-ever speaker panel. CTAHR alumnus Matthew Goo, Melanie Takahashi of the Manoa Career Center, and Grace Magruder of the Peace Corps talked from their perspectives on tips to facilitate the transition from student to employee. Afterwards, all mingled and enjoyed pupus provided by Monsanto and Pioneer. Overall, this experience proved to be insightful for both students and employers.

Thank you to all of the professionals who volunteered their time to share their valuable knowledge and experiences with our students, ASAO for organizing this event, CTAHR student volunteers, and to the students who attended this event.


Student Research Symposium

Because of the geographic isolation of Hawai‘i and the high cost of traveling outside the state, students at the University of Hawai‘i have limited opportunities to present their scholarly work in professional conferences. One of the main goals of the annual Student Research Symposium is to give students the experience of presenting their work in a friendly, yet academic setting similar to national and international conferences. More on this >>


Awards Banquet

Academic excellence, a diverse economy, a healthy environment, and strong families and communities: these goals are central to CTAHR's mission. This shared mission is embraced at our annual Awards Banquet, where the excellence and accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff are recognized; an outstanding alumnus who has made important contributions to a field or discipline represented by CTAHR is honored; and tribute is paid to an exceptional individual from the community whose commitment to the college has greatly furthered CTAHR’s goals.

Attendees at the 23rd Awards Banquet on May 6, 2011 were entertained by the high-energy Derek Kurisu, CTAHR alumnus and local TV star, and the personable Jayna Tasaka (FCS) as they feasted on Farm-to-Table fare and applauded members of the CTAHR ‘ohana and friends. In all, almost 400 people attended, including President Greenwood. She remarked on the important role CTAHR plays in Hawai‘i’s communities—and they know how to throw a great party, too!

Honorees who were recognized that evening:

The 2011 Outstanding Alumna is Dr. PingSun Leung (PhD, Agricultural & Resource Economics), a professor in Natural Resources & Environmental Management. Dr. Leung is also an internationally renowned aquaculture and fisheries economist, advancing the field through research, founding the journal Aquaculture Economics and Management, and serving as a consultant to various local and international organizations and agencies. This year’s Ka Lei Hano Heritage Award recipient is Mr. Harold Tanouye, president and owner of Green Point Nurseries. He is a leader and innovator in the local agricultural industry, and through strong collaboration with CTAHR, has helped keep Hawai‘i’s anthurium industry competitive and thriving in the global marketplace.

Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Jon-Paul Bingham (MBBE)
Excellence in Research – Dr. Arnold Hara (PEPS, Hawai‘i County)
Excellence in Extension – Dr. Barbara DeBaryshe & the Early Reading First Team (Center on the Family)
Ka Pouhana (Mentor) Award – Dr. Wayne Iwaoka (HNFAS)
Alvin T. & Charlotte C. Nakamura Hoku Award – Dr. Linda Cox (NREM)
Outstanding Civil Service – Ms. Marla Fergerstrom (Mealani Research Station, Hawai‘i County)
Ka Hana Po‘okela Service Awards: graduate student – Noe Abejon (NREM)
Ka Hana Po‘okela Service Awards: undergraduate student – Gabriel Sachter-Smith (TPSS)

Thank you to the many people who helped to make the event a success including the Awards Banquet Planning Committee, Elsie Kawahara for serving as IT technician, the CTAHR student ambassadors, CTAHR’s Office of Communication Services and Office of Academic & Student Affairs, and to the many donors who provided the floral arrangements and gift bags.


Spring Convocation

CTAHR Spring 2014 graduates

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, over 200 CTAHR students, their families and friends, and CTAHR faculty and staff attended the CTAHR Convocation in the Campus Center Ballroom. This intimate celebration, emceed by Lisa Kitagawa-Akagi, began with congratulatory remarks from Dean Maria Gallo and CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends President Dr. Susan Miller. Our Spring 2014 student marshals Maili Huck (FSHN) and Ryan Pe'a (NREM), selected for their academic achievements, leadership and service to CTAHR and the University, were then called on stage to be recognized. Afterwards, graduating students active in CTAHR-affiliated student organizations were acknowledged for their participation in these organizations. CTAHR also recognized five students who completed the Dietetic Internship Program. The ceremony concluded with the individual recognition of 61 of our graduates. Following the program were refreshments and a chance for family, friends, and mentors to mingle with the graduating students. Congratulations to our graduating students for achieving such a milestone! Good luck in your future endeavors!

A big mahalo to all those who supported our graduating students. Thank you to SAPFB for partially funding this event, the CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends for their support, Steven and Karen Sato for donating lei, CTAHR scholarship recipients and student ambassadors for volunteering at the event, and ASAO for providing the CTAHR memorabilia presented to the graduates and organizing this event.


Summer Study Tour in Peru

Four CTAHR students, Mandy Chen (ANSC), Rheanna Dominici (FAMR), Brandon Ngao (BE), and Flora Wang (FSHN), and Sylvia Wu of ASAO embarked on a twelve-day international adventure from May 22-June 2, 2015 to explore the Peruvian city of Cusco, volunteer in the Amazonian jungle, and visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

After their arrival at Cusco, at an elevation of 11,200 ft, they were escorted to their homestay close to the main tourist city center. They first met their host mother, whom would prepare delicious and authentic Peruvian cuisine for their meals in Cusco. Then, the entire group took a 10-hour bus trip down to Puerto Maldonado.

They traveled by motorboat from the port to an island where Casa ITA lay, their home base for the following five days. That afternoon and for the rest of their days at the Amazon, they would make a daily boat ride on the Rio Madre de Dios to Gamitana Farm, where all kinds of organic foods grew. They engaged in manual labor, from heading in the jungle to find dead trees to break down into mulch, sifting compost to combine with tilled soil on prepared plant beds for the newest crops, cutting plantains to dry and grind into flour, clearing land for agricultural use, and harvesting banana saplings to diversify propagation on the farmlands. They observed wildlife at an animal sanctuary, on a night walk, on a canopy walk, and during a snake hunt.

Their next adventure after the jungle was to the sacred and historical Machu Picchu. They first hiked the neighboring mountain called Huayna Picchu, heading up into the misty clouds. At the top were breathtaking views of Machu Picchu when it was not shrouded in clouds. They met with their tour guide Romulo at the gate entrance for a guided tour of the ruins, where they learned of the innovative water systems and architectural techniques, and religious, secular, and political divides of the civilization, among other interesting facts.

After returning for their final day in Cusco city, they soaked up what they could of the people, food, and culture before they headed to the airport and the plane ride back home. After 15,500 miles of traveling, the adventure in Peru had come to an end.

Thank you to IVHQ, Maximo Nivel, and InkaTerra for making our tour educational and meaningful. Mahalo to Katie, Medy, Jack, Chelsey, Noe, Yasmani, Helmut, and Gabriela for hosting our CTAHR group, going out of your way to make our experience in Cusco and the Amazon as enjoyable as it could be and providing many unforgettable memories. We also want to extend our gratitude to the rest of the Maximo Nivel volunteers at the jungle and the friendly Peruvians we met during our travel. In addition, mahalo to ASAO for supporting our students on this international study tour and to the students who participated and made this experience meaningful for everyone we encountered in Peru.

See a video made by the students at:
Another video created by Maximo Nivel is viewable at:

To check out the first year's summer study tour, please visit the group's blog at:


CTAHR AgDiscovery Program

CTAHR 2015 Ag Discovery students

The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, in conjunction with the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, hosted its fifth annual AgDiscovery program from July 12 – 25, 2015. Ten selected high school students from Hawaii, the mainland, and American Samoa endured two weeks of intense agricultural learning and career exploration in fields such as animal and plant health, veterinary science, animal and plant disease eradication, plant pathology, entomology, and wildlife services. Participants lived on the Manoa campus and learned about agricultural science from university professors, practicing veterinarians, industry representatives, and professionals working for the U.S. government.

Unique about Hawaii’s program is its emphasis on tropical agriculture and traditional values of Native Hawaiian culture. The students experienced this firsthand through memorable activities including visiting a local commercial aquaponics operation, working with anthuriums and orchids, learning about local ranching and ecotourism, helping out at a lo’i (taro patch) and making Hawaiian cuisine through traditional methods, learning about local biotechnology ventures, understanding the management of imports and exports to and from the state, and extracting honey.

Photos and videos from this past Hawaii AgDiscovery Program can be found at: or For more information about this program, please contact Charles Kinoshita, Ph.D., (808) 956-6997, Applications for the 2016 AgDiscovery Program will be due in March 2016.


New Student Orientation

CTAHR’s New Student Orientation provides a great introduction for incoming freshman and transfer students to our college. This year, three orientation dates were offered to incoming students. The main event took place on Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

During this program, the newest members of our college received words of welcome by the Dean, an overview of our four main values of instructional philosophy (Scholarship, Ethical Behavior, Diversity, and Service) from Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Charly Kinoshita. Lisa Kitagawa-Akagi then briefly talked about co-curricular programs and campus resources. Representatives from various student clubs and organizations in CTAHR then publicized their groups to encourage new students to join and get involved. The formal program ended with a video slideshow of college events for our students.

Afterwards, the new students were divided into smaller groups, each led by a small team of current CTAHR students. During these more intimate sessions current students mingled and gave advice to the incoming students. The new students first introduced themselves and shared an interesting fact to get to know each other better, then learned about campus resources and services, got tips about college from the student leaders through a survival kit and hearing about their personal college experiences, and ended with a question-and-answer segment for the new students to ask current students about things on their mind. Afterwards, groups split up into four groups. Half the students embarked on a campus tour photo scavenger hunt and the other half received academic advising from our college’s professional and faculty advisors. Students then enjoyed lunch before switching for advising and the campus tour. Congratulations to Group 3 consisting of BE students Saul Bernal Ramos, Michael Di Martino, Samuel Fisher, Jaclyn Lee, Kyle Rafael Marcelino, Cody Shinsato, Alisa Tseng and their BE student leaders Sheldon Arakawa and Brandon Ngao for winning the photo scavenger hunt! Thank you to CTAHR’s three professional advisors for judging the competition.

About 20 incoming students who were not able to make the main orientation came out on Wednesday, August 19 or Thursday, August 20, 2015 for a shortened version of the orientation. They mingled with other new and current students, went on a short campus tour, and ended with academic advising by the college’s professional advisors.

The orientation sessions would not have been possible without the assistance of many individuals. A big thank you to SAPFB for funding a portion of this event, the UH Manoa Bookstore for contributing to our survival kits, the student committee members and Scholarship Recipients/Student Ambassadors who served as NSO leaders: Sheldon Arakawa, Arby Barone, Maryhmelle Castillo, Mandy Chen, Jerrisa Ching, Rheanna Dominici, Kira Fox, Michelle Nino, Hailey Pederson, Brandon Ngao, Ross Villiger, and Flora Wang; the Dean; professional and faculty advisors, student club and organization representatives; and ASAO for helping us welcome the newest members of our college!


Welcome Back Ice Cream Bash

CTAHR’s 27th Annual Welcome Back Ice Cream Bash took place on Monday, September 14, 2015 in the Sherman Courtyard. Representatives from CTAHR’s departments and administration vied for the top honors in the costume contest as well as ice cream eating competition. After the friendly competitions, CTAHR students, faculty, and staff enjoyed free ice cream and popsicles generously donated once again by Meadow Gold Dairies of Hawaii.

Competing in this year’s contests were Von Kaanaana (Family & Consumer Sciences), Makena Dyer (Human Nutrition, Food & Animal Sciences), Roberto Rodriguez (Molecular Biosciences & Bioengineering), Jonathan Marshall (Natural Resources & Environmental Management), Gerald Crank (Plant & Environmental Protection Sciences), Nicholas Krueger (Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences), and Cheryl Ernst (Administration). Congratulations to TPSS’s Nicholas Krueger for winning the costume contest and FCS’s Von Kaanaana for his athleticism and coordination during the relay race and downing the contents of his ice cream bowl in record time.

This year’s beneficiary for monetary donations was the Pre-Veterinary Club, a CTAHR student organization that strives to bring together people who share a passion and interest in helping animals and the community. They provide different hands-on learning experiences in the field of veterinary science and make connections with professionals in that field to achieve their ultimate goal to make a difference in the animal community on the island. Over $175 were collected at this year’s event to support their efforts.

Thank you to all who attended the bash, our contestants, and especially to those who donated to the Pre-Veterinary Club. Big mahalos go out to Meadow Gold Dairies of Hawaii for its continuous support of CTAHR; Joannie Dobbs, and the NREM and MBBE departments for the usage of their facilities; Ray Uchida of the Oahu Extension Office and Ernesto Ortal and Nester Dela Cruz of Pearl City Urban Garden Center for tent coverage; and our ice cream scoopers. Also, thank you to our co-emcees Alex Navarro and Hailey Pederson and the rest of the planning committee, scholarship recipients, ASAO, SAPFB, and everyone whose efforts made the 27th Annual Welcome Back Ice Cream Bash a huge success!


Family and Friends Picnic

CTAHR held its first ever Family and Friends Picnic on Saturday, September 19, 2015. Over 100 CTAHR students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and friends and family members came out for this fun, family-friendly event. An inflatable obstacle course was the featured entertainment, which was a big hit with the crowd. Other games included a relay race for older kids and adults, and additional ongoing activities as well as a relay race for the little ones. A raffle of CTAHR swag kept spirits up at the event as well.

The food was also a fabulous fare of protein and grilled corn provided by the college, as well as potluck style pupus, sides, and desserts from attending guests. It was ono, filling, and way too much, showing the sharing nature and family culture of colleagues at this social gathering.

Thank you to our scholarship recipients and student ambassadors for volunteering to man the games. Mahalo to Ray and Janice Uchida, Roger Corrales, and the Waimanalo Research Station for providing the corn. Also, special thanks to the Dean’s Office and ASAO for funding the main food, entertainment, and transportation to the event, and to the Office of Communication Services and Debbie Wong of NREM for their donations to our raffle. Lastly, thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to this event, making the first-ever CTAHR Family and Friends Picnic a great success!


A Meaningful Experience

Twenty-one CTAHR students and staff excitedly stepped onto the plane to travel to Maui, Hawaii, in the early hours of Saturday, September 26, 2015 for the Twelfth Annual Meaningful Experience. They first headed to the Skyline Eco-Adventures for a fun and educational tour on the slopes of Haleakala, learning about the biodiversity of the regions including native birds and plants, as well as conservation/ecological restoration efforts in the area. Hungry after their first adventure, they ate a filling lunch from Kula Bistro.

The group then visited Maui Gold Pineapple where they learned about the ups and downs of the pineapple industry throughout history to the present day. The students then got to apply science to measure the different factors used to determine when a pineapple is ready for sale: translucency, acidity, and sweetness. This very hands-on experience preoccupied the students until mid-afternoon, inspiring the hidden scientist in them all.

The last scheduled activity of the day was teambuilding activities, led by Academic Advisor Jennifer Custodio. After building interpersonal, communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills, the group called it a day and explored the nearby area for dinner and free time.

The next morning, the group woke up early for a quick breakfast from CJ’s Deli before embarking on their main adventure of the day: heading out to the red dirt fields in Lahaina for a more outdoor, in-the-field exploration of Maui’s agricultural industry. They heard from a cacao farmer working his way to creating a personal line of premium chocolates. The students contributed some hard work and sweat to the farm, planting 21 cacao trees and also leaving their mark by planting two ‘ulu (or breadfruit) trees on the premises.

After some labor-intensive work on the farm, students went to lunch at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, stopped for ice cream cookie sandwiches at Hula’s Cookies and Ice Cream, and picked up freshly baked sweetbread, mochi, and manju from Home Maid Bakery and donuts from Krispy Kreme before heading to the airport and coming back home.

Thank you to Darren Strand and Maui Gold Pineapple as well as James Kimo Simpliciano for coordinating our farm visit and Gunars Valkirs for hosting our group on his cacao farm. We also want to extend our gratitude to ASAO for supporting our students’ trip to Maui. Lastly, thank you to the students who participated and made this experience meaningful for the entire group.


Blood Drive

Every day, 200 blood donors are needed to meet the needs of Hawaii’s patients. Although statistics show that 60% of us will need blood sometime in our lives, only 2% of our state’s population donates. To continue its support for this important cause of saving lives, CTAHR hosted its eleventh blood drive on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

This year, we collected 54 pints of blood. Since each pint of blood can be separated into three components, as many as 162 lives can be saved from donations collected at our drive. The precious gift of life not only helps those who need the blood, but touches the lives of the families of the recipients as well.

The Blood Bank and CTAHR truly appreciates the time and generosity of everyone who contributed to this successful event and giving the precious gift of life. Much mahalo to those who came out to donate blood. Thank you to Steve and Karen Sato for the support and generous donation to supply malasadas for our blood drive. Also, thanks to the scholarship recipients who helped throughout the day and provided a positive and comfortable environment for those who came to donate.


Fall Convocation

On Friday, December 7, 2012, over 150 CTAHR students, their families and friends, and CTAHR faculty and staff attended the CTAHR Convocation in the Campus Center Ballroom. This is the first time in ten years that the College has held a convocation ceremony for its graduating students. This intimate celebration, emceed by Mrs. Lisa Kitagawa-Akagi, began with congratulatory remarks from Dean Maria Gallo and CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends President Dr. Susan Miller. Our Fall 2012 student marshals Allyson Fujii (FAMR) and Jordan Oshiro (FSHN), selected for their academic achievements and high involvement in CTAHR, were then called to stage to be recognized. Afterwards, graduating students active in CTAHR-affiliated student organizations were acknowledged for their participation in these groups. The formal program then concluded with the individual recognition of 40 of our graduates. Following the program were refreshments and a chance for family, friends, and mentors to mingle with the graduating students. Congratulations to our graduating students for achieving such a milestone! Good luck in your future endeavors!

A big mahalo to all those who supported our graduating students. Thank you to the CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends for donating lei, CTAHR scholarship recipients and student ambassadors for volunteering at the event, Yama’s Fishmarket for catering the food, and ASAO for providing the CTAHR memorabilia presented to the graduates and organizing this event.